This work will use an integrated computational and experimental approach (for both kinetics and catalyst synthesis) to: 1) obtain a fundamental mechanistic understanding of the catalytic decarboxylation of model naphthenic acids and 2) develop an inorganic solid filter that is specific to extracting carboxylic acids from dilute solutions under rapid flow conditions.
California Institute of Technology
Naphthenic acids, which are unfunctionalized aliphatic, alicylic, and aromatic carboxylic acids, cause enormous refinery problems due to their corrosivity toward mild steel. Naphthenic acids are unique components of most crude oils and are especially prevalent in heavy and biodegraded oils. They have a higher rate of chemical activity than other components of crude oil. Their reactivity translates to metal corrosion in refineries and processing plants. In the upstream phases of oil production and transportation to refineries, naphthenic acids can react with other materials to form sludge and gum, thus plugging pipelines and operating machinery.
Gaining a fundamental understanding of effective mechanisms of removing naphthenic acid compounds from heavy crude oil will significantly help the U.S. petroleum industry in improving refinery processing of heavy crude oils possessing high contents of naphthenic acid.
The project accomplishments included these developments:
Tasks to be performed in this project include:
Two types of decarboxylation catalysts were developed. Catalyst A promotes catalytic decarboxylation, acid-base neutralization, and C-C cracking to some degree. Catalyst B shows excellent decarboxylation activity for the naphthoic acid model compound-acid conversion reached 93.9%.
The project is nearing completion.
$199,892 (20% of total)